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Northumbrian Pipe Maker – Keys

Northumbrian Pipe Maker – Making Keys

Northumbrian Pipes Maker

Keys are Hand Forged from Brass

Northumbrian pipes are available either with or without keys.  Originally, the instrument had a plain chanter with no keys and a unique and distinctive repertoire to tunes were played.  In the 18th Century, this chanter was developed by makers in Newcastle-on-Tyne and North Shields through the addition of keys. This allowed pipers to explore the fiddle repertoire as well as the older pipe tunes of the region.

Keys are hand made, which is an extremely time consuming job.  However, the results are well worth the effort, both in terms of the tunes which can be played and the beauty of finished chanter.  I’ve been making keys this week from brass sheet.  This is cut, cold forged and filed to shape.  The round head which will cover the hole on the chanter is cut and soldered on before a leaf spring is hand made and riveted to the key shank.

 

 

 

Once finished, the key is drilled to take the pin which attaches it to the chanter and final shaping and adjustments are made to ensure a smooth action.

Northumbrian Pipes Maker

Final Fitting to Ensure Smooth Action

 

 

 

For more information on buying a set of Northumbrian Small Pipes contact me at Kim@Northumbrianpipes.co.uk.

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Northumbrian Pipe Maker

Northumbrian Pipes Maker

The finished round section

Northumbrian Pipemaker – Preparing Wood

The most popular wood for Northumbrian pipe making is African Blackwood.  This is bought in squared billets and my first job is to turn it to rounds on the lathe.

 

Once turned, each piece is individually bored to the appropriate diameter, cut to length and then returned to the shelf for several months.  This allows the piece to slowly dry and prevents cracking.

Northumbrian Pipes Maker

Cut and turned wood is then slowly dried

 

For more information on buying a set of Northumbrian Small Pipes contact me at Kim@Northumbrianpipes.co.uk.

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